On Wednesday, the Tory Group on Ipswich Borough Council proposed a motion asking the Council to lead on the production of a comprehensive knife crime strategy for the town.
Who could disagree with that? However the Tory Group knows as well as anyone else, that much of the power to fight knife crime lies with the Suffolk Police and the Tory run County Council. Any strategy we produced would be reliant on the Police and County doing much of the work.
They also seemed to forget or not admit that the police struggle at times to carry out their tasks due to underfunding of the service over the last 12 years of Tory Government.
That does not mean we do not need a strategy, however if the Tories had asked or just opened some of their own council papers, they would see we already have a strategy. A strategy to fight the rise of drug supply in the town, a strategy that looks to stop 'County Lines' drug operations working in the town. The Police are quite clear in both their messages to the public and to elected officials that most cases of crime involving knives are linked to this drug trade.
Our Labour run Council led on the 'County Lines' strategy and we have worked with partners to ensure it has the funding and resources to defeat the drug gangs. It works because the Tory Police and Crime Commissioner, the Tory County Council and ourselves are not 'playing' politics, but just getting on with the job - together - a job that is producing positive outcomes.
The strategy has seen a drastic reduction in the number of 'County ;Lines' operating in the town, and the police continue to crack down on those involved in the trade, so much so that in the last 12 months in Eastern Ipswich (that is the whole of the east of the town plus Felixstowe and Woodbridge - there has been a 39.5% reduction is crime involving serious violence or knives. I call that a good start and something we can work on.
The Tories accused us of playing political games, however they submitted a motion that did not stand up to the facts that they all should of been aware, two of the Tories who spoke at Council had been sent the North East Area Committee papers, that highlighted the latest statistics on crime, showing the reduction in knife use. Had they read the report?
That does not mean we can't do something to help in the fight against knife crime, it is obvious that we (and the police) need to get the message over to the public that we are cracking down on violent crime and getting good results, and it is obvious we can do more with our partners and those involved in education to get the message across to our younger residents, that carrying a knife could lead you to spending a considerable time behind bars, or even losing you own life.
So maybe if the Ipswich Tories want to bring another motion to Full Council, they should check their own facts first and maybe try and work with us rather than playing 'politics' - a type of politics that seem to come straight out of the Trump 'Playbook'.